George Burns knew when he reached the first green yesterday that Congressional Country Club's tortuous golf course was ready to pay him back for Thursday's course-record 64.
Burns, on the green of the par-4 hole in two, was 40 feet from the cup. But between him and the cup was fringe. Instead of putting, he had to pitch. Instead of making a routine par, he missed a five-foot putt and was headed for a 77. "It put my nerves to a test," he said.
Yesterday, Burns used 33 putts, after 25 on Thursday; he also chipped poorly, missed six fairways and received as many bad bounces as he did good ones Thursday. "I wasn't that far off, but I got some terrible lies," he said.
"Congressional got even with me today. I couldn't do anything wrong yesterday. You aren't going to do that many times and not expect to get paid back . . . I got the max best out of my round yesterday and the max worst today . . ."
On the six holes Burns' drives missed the fairway, he was five over par. His drive at No. 3, for example, found "a funny lie" down in deep rough. He tried to hit a six-iron shot, but it flew and stopped in the downslope of a green-side bunker. From 50 feet, he three-putted.
"What gets your guard down is the width of these fairways," he said. "They look wide, but they're tight (in the landing area). If you don't get the ball in the fairway, you're in the outhouse."
At No. 14, he made a mistake by choosing a driver instead of three-wood. "They're not that wild a shots," he said. "I saw that ball kick on the 14th; one foot less and I have a shot." His path to the green was obstructed by trees, one of which his second shot hit. That was his third straight bogey, following ones caused by first a poor chip and then a bad six-foot putt.
He made a birdie at the 17th, but gave it back on the finishing hole.
He said he was happy to be under par after 36 holes, and said it was important to make the cut. He's done that only seven times in 14 tournaments this year.
At that point, his friend Barry Jaeckel came by and put Burns' two-day effort in proper perspective. "You had your bad round and you're still in the last group tomorrow."
Local golfers fared poorly yesterday and all missed the 36-hole cut of 150. Brian Staveley, who had the best chance after an opening round 71, faded with 81--152. Other area golfers: Fred Gibson 75-76--151; Lee Elder 79-72--151; amateur Marty West 74-78--152; amateur Olin Brown 77-79--156; Bill Calfee 84-72--156; Gary Marlowe 79-77--156; Clem King 80-77--157; Mike Wynn 83-74--157; Woody FitzHugh 77-82--159; Rick Hughes 80-79--159; Jay Lindner 80-84--164; Brad Prichard 79-85--164, and Mark Guttenberg 87-84--171. Donnie Hammond, formerly of Frederick, Md., and now living in Longwood, Fla., made the cut at 75-72--147.